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Integrated National Board Dental Examination

In 2009, in keeping with its strategic plan for the future, the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations agreed to create a new examination that would integrate the basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences to assess entry level competency in dentistry. The Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE) would be designed to assist state boards of dentistry in evaluating candidates for dental licensure, and would eventually replace the current National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Parts I and II. The INBDE is currently in development with implementation scheduled to begin in 2020.

Several presentations and fact sheets are available to download that provide updates and detail the ongoing progress with the INBDE.

At its June 2016 annual meeting, the Joint Commission adopted retest policies for the INBDE and for the transition period to the INBDE. The INBDE retest policy continues the “Five Years/Five Attempts” policy from the NBDE Part I and Part II. During the transition, candidates will have the option of taking the NBDE Part I and Part II or the INBDE, until they take the INBDE. After a candidate tests on the INBDE, he or she is no longer permitted to take the NBDE Part I or Part II.

Candidates who take the NBDE Part I and Part II during the transition period will be allowed five attempts on each of those examinations and also will be allowed five attempts on the INBDE if they decide to take the integrated examination. If they pass the NBDE Part II, they will not be allowed to take the INBDE for security reasons.

The Joint Commission’s ad hoc committee for an Integrated Examination (CIE), is responsible for developing and validating the INBDE. Members of the committee see the creation of an integrated examination as a long term project. The Joint Commission provided four years’ notice of the INBDE’s implementation to state dental boards in May 2016, and included the INBDE Implementation Plan in its communication.  

The INBDE implementation plan provides stakeholders and communities of interest with information regarding how INBDE implementation will occur, the information that will be made available to help facilitate the transition, and recommended actions for stakeholders and communities of interest. Please download and review the INBDE Implementation Plan (PDF).

The Joint Commission and the CIE thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback on the draft documents “Model of the Domain of Dentistry” and “Foundation Knowledge for the General Dentist” which provide the content domain for the examination.

Also at the June 2016 meeting, the Joint Commission approved the following:

  • Annual report of the Committee for an Integrated Examination concerning INBDE development
  • INBDE Retest Policy and Candidate Eligibility (PDF)
  • INBDE Implementation Plan, with direction for Department of Testing Services staff to update it as new information becomes available
  • Annual communication of the INBDE Implementation Plan to academic deans, dental deans, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) CEO and president, and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) executive director and president
  • Formation of a test construction committee on image quality and selection of members for the committee, who will be responsible for: 1) maintaining image guidelines and acceptability standards in accordance with industry best practices, 2) evaluating and accepting high-quality images, and 3) categorizing and adjusting images as appropriate, to help ensure that images appearing on National Board Examinations are of sufficient quality
  • Formation of an ad hoc committee to review the Joint Commission’s practice analysis methodology, with staff efforts to make improvements to the methodology where feasible in the interim period
At its April 2015 meeting, the Joint Commission approved the following deliverables:

At its April 2014 meeting, the Joint Commission approved the following:

  • Preliminary operational recommendations, which have been incorporated into the INBDE FAQ where appropriate
  • INBDE Preliminary Model Items
At its April 2013 meeting, the Joint Commission approved four key deliverables, which can be downloaded:
  1. Model of the Domain of Dentistry (PDF)
  2. Statements and Annotations Underpinning the Foundation Knowledge for the General Dentist (PDF)
  3. The Percentage of Items Devoted to the Ten Foundation Knowledge Areas (PDF)
  4. The Percentage of Items Devoted to the Three Clinical Component Sections (PDF)

As additional documents become available, this site will be updated.

See the Frequently Asked Questions for an introduction to the INBDE. Please refer to the following documents for project progress through 2012. In April 2013, the Joint Commission decided to discontinue this approach and use more frequent web updates and other communications instead.

The Joint Commission welcomes comments and feedback from all stakeholders and communities of interest. Information can be sent to the committee by email using the following address: nbexams@ada.org. While individual responses are not possible, the committee reviews all comments, feedback and questions.

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